STUDY OBJECTIVE: We describe the operators, techniques, success, and adverse event rates of adult emergency department (ED) intubation through multicenter prospective surveillance.
METHODS: Eighteen EDs in the United States, Canada, and Australia recorded intubation data onto a Web-based data collection tool, with a greater than or equal to 90% reporting compliance requirement. We report proportions with binomial 95% confidence intervals (CIs) and regression, with year as the dependent variable, to model change over time.
RESULTS: Of 18 participating centers, 5 were excluded for failing to meet compliance standards. From the remaining 13 centers, we report data on 17,583 emergency intubations of patients aged 15 years or older from 2002 to 2012. Indications were medical in 65% of patients and trauma in 31%. Rapid sequence intubation was the first method attempted in 85% of encounters. Emergency physicians managed 95% of intubations and most (79%) were physician trainees. Direct laryngoscopy was used in 84% of first attempts. Video laryngoscopy use increased from less than 1% in the first 3 years to 27% in the last 3 years (risk difference 27%; 95% CI 25% to 28%; mean odds ratio increase per year [ie, slope] 1.7; 95% CI 1.6 to 1.8). Etomidate was used in 91% and succinylcholine in 75% of rapid sequence intubations. Among rapid sequence intubations, rocuronium use increased from 8.2% in the first 3 years to 42% in the last 3 years (mean odds ratio increase per year 1.3; 95% CI 1.3 to 1.3). The first-attempt intubation success rate was 83% (95% CI 83% to 84%) and was higher in the last 3 years than in the first 3 (86% versus 80%; risk difference 6.2%; 95% CI 4.2% to 7.8%). The airway was successfully secured in 99.4% of encounters (95% CI 99.3% to 99.6%).
CONCLUSION: In the EDs we studied, emergency intubation has a high and increasing success rate. Both drug and device selection evolved significantly during the study period.